The relics of St. Therese drew thousands of the faithful to the Carmelite Monastery near La Plata, the first stop on a tour of the United States.

Nearly 6,000 people turned out on Tuesday evening for the arrival of the reliquary containing bones, clothing and possessions of Saint Therese of Lisieux, known to Catholics and others around the world as "the Little Flower." When the vehicle carrying the relics arrived at the entrance, a procession of about 3,000 people followed as it drove up the hill to the monastery.

As midnight approached on Tuesday, organizers of the visit said the nuns who run the monastery had to ask people to leave so they could lock up for the night.

The crowds began forming again about 6 a.m. Wednesday as people began arriving for an 8:30 a.m. Mass. About 1,000 attended a Mass celebrated by Bishop Leonard J. Olivier at 12:30 Wednesday afternoon.

The tour of the United States includes more than 120 stops between now and the end of January.

Born in Alencon, France, Therese entered the Carmelite convent at Lisieux at age 15. She died from tuberculosis in 1897 at age 24. She was declared a saint in 1925.

The Carmelite Monastery was chosen as the first U.S. stop for the relics because it is the site of the first monastery of nuns in America.